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Social Studies & Science Through Video Games (11+yo.)

What better way to learn Social Studies and Science through something the kids already love and enjoy!

Students will play Sid Meier’s Civilizations V (CIV V: Gods And Kings – expansion pack) bought on STEAM

for the first 8 weeks.  Students will pick a character, from the game from a certain time period in history, researching different aspects of that character each week for assigned homework (e.g. military strategy, facts about their country, etc.).  Then they’ll come share their findings with the class each week.  The teacher will elaborate on it and they will learn about different civilizations and the strategy involved in the game.  It will also involve politics and different styles of government as they move through history and play with their friends every week.

Students can practice in single-player mode at home during the week against the computer  game AI, but they’ll play as a group in class every week.

It will be important to try hard not to miss a class, because of how the game is set up.  If a player is absent, his player automatically gets replaced with an AI person and then when they return, it will not be possible for them to join back in as themselves, so they won’t get as much out of the class as they could’ve.

Then for the last 8 weeks, we’ll be using Kerbal Space Program which will involve studying Physics, Astronomy, and Rocket Science.  A basic understanding of Pre-Algebra/Algebra 1 will be helpful, but isn’t required.

Have you ever thought rockets are cool? Want to try your hand at landing on the moon? What’s stopping you from building your own and riding it to space? And how can humans get to Mars?

In this class, we’ll learn about space, Newtonian physics, orbits, how to build a rocket structurally and how they work, how to rendezvous and dock two spaceships, the international space station operations, astronauts, and the solar system while applying some Math skills.  Thanks to our teacher, it won’t seem like rocket science.

We will use the video game, Kerbal Space Program, as a simulation, engineering, and design tool, finding out how to get a ship into orbit and beyond.  This is a great class to get into STEM education.

Students need to provide their own laptop and purchase the game.

Computer System Requirements:

Students will have to purchase the following games to use in the class and the computer that it will be used on will have these minimum requirements:

  • 2.0Ghz Dual Core CPU or higher (preferably higher)
  • 4GB RAM

Topic Overview:

CIV Half of Semester:

  • History, Personality, and Character of various countries throughout history.
    • What these countries/rulers did well
    • What these countries/rulers did not do well
    • Why they are in the history books
    • Plus: the below tactics and strategies employed by the ruler.
  • Political tactics
  • Economic tactics
  • Role of religion in geo-politics
  • Geography and its relation to the development of a civilization
  • War-time tactics
  • Development of military power, and its continued restrained (wise) use.
  • General use of the game Civilizations V (5)

Kerbal Space Program – Half of Semester:

  • Basic Physics
    • Newton’s 3 Laws
    • Gravity
    • Orbits
  • Space-Craft-Specific: Design Factors
    • Power to Weight Ratio
    • Delta-V (Change in velocity of fuel)
    • Specific Impulse
    • Aerodynamics of rockets
    • Control of spacecraft outside the atmosphere
      • RCS
      • CMGs
    • Motions of Celestial Bodies, and Methods for Rendezvous
      • Phase Angles
      • Transfer Orbits

Students can sign up for 1 of the 8-week modules (just Civ V or just Kerbal) or both.

Teacher: Jonny Hyman

Ages: 11+yo., but please see above requirements for Math and computers as well

Cost: $300 for the 2 hour class or $150 for 8 week module

To register: Click here



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